Wednesday, September 22, 2010

E47 Art


There is nothing better to me than to be poking around on the internet and stumbling upon something mind blowingly cool, and that’s exactly what happened to me tonight. I stumbled across this blog, saw these really cool toys and straight away I wanted to blog about them. I started clicking and reading, I was looking for who the toys were made by thinking they were some kind of production toys... I didn’t have to read very far to have my mind completely blown... Seriously I had a complete mind explosion... E47 Art makes this awesome robot figures himself and not only that wait for it, he makes them out of stuff like Christmas ornaments, plastic tube and plastic bottles. How fucking awesome is that!!! I mean to customize a shape is one thing but to build a toys this good from nothin is pure awesomeness. As for the paint work what can I say... really it speaks for itself dont you think.. Seriously sharp!

So I'm not only here to tell you to go have a look but I also want you to do me a favor, pop over to his blog and click follow the reason I want you to do this is because I think this dude should be making more of his cool awesome art toys. To help that happen we need to show our support, and if your a super cool person you will leave a comment, lets face its not hard to tell the dude how cool his pieces are.. So be a cool person and support this dude!

On the topic of customizing E47 really shows us that you can use anything and make really cool awesome art. Awesome work E47 Please keep it up and show us more!

Dude! Are you still here? Get you ass over there and leave a comment and dont forget to click follow on his blog!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Brusha, brusha, brusha!

Monsterforge, an artist that I wrote about in the recent past here at Monsterosity has caught my attention once again…

This time he has posted a cool painting tutorial on a technique called dry brushing. While most people (but not everyone and that’s ok!) have heard of the term dry brushing, and know it is a great way to highlight texture …what’s really cool is, Monsterforge shows us how to use this technique as it a blend on a flat vinyl surface to add depth to your customs, Monsterforge also teaches us some Jedi mind tricks or colour theory for thoes of you who wish to be boring, teaching us how the mind perceives colour… informative stuff people!

Really awesome Monsterforge! Thank you for sharing and teaching us some of your cool techniques!

You can go directly to this tutoial by clicking this link Brusha, brusha, brusha! or click any of the monsterforges an go to his blog to read more cool stuff.

Happy Customizing!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Vampires and the use of Acrylic Paint Brushes

Painting with acrylics can be great fun. However, the acrylic paint brushes you use are essential to the quality of your finished painting.

A good set of paint brushes will make your painting time easier and more enjoyable but that doesn’t mean you need to mortgage the house for a quality set… if I told you that you wife(or husband) would hunt me down and kill me.

There is a wide range of quality and prices out there, both available on the web and at your local art supplies or hobby store.

It is usually cheaper to buy your (first/starter)) brushes in a kit as apposed to individually… however don’t get sucked into pretty boxes/ cases and all that, as the likelihood of you using the box/case is slim to none. I got fooled into this trap (by myself sadly and not by some cheesy used brush salesman)…and I’m embarrassed to say I paid more for the pretty case thinking I would keep my brushes beautiful and pristine in the case… now my brushes while clean and in good order are livin in an empty jam jar on my desk, the pretty case is in the cupboard.

That said if you intend on traveling with your brushes then maybe it’s worth the consideration… But if your cherished loved one sees you paying an extra $20-$30 for a pretty case your not gonna use… your on your own buddy.

Painting is a large part of customizing toys, once all the shape modification (if you’re customizing the shape) is done the final stage is usually painting your character. Painting your figure can be done with various different paint mediums however because acrylic paints are the easiest and most commonly used I’ll focus on brushes for acrylic paints in this article.

There is a wealth of information out there on brushes and lot of the information about brush sizes, shapes and uses is in fact common for all of the main paint mediums and many of the brushes are some what interchangeable.

Originally oil paint brushes, which were and still are made from natural hair fibers, were used for acrylic paints, but these days an ever increasing range of acrylic brushes, designed specifically for this medium are readily available..

You can or course use almost any kind of brush either natural or synthetic depending on, what you are trying to achieve, your style and own personal preferences… and who am I to tell you other wise. However acrylic paints although generally no toxic are ruthless on brush fibers making the synthetic (usually nylon) brushes more resilient than natural fibers. Using nylon brushes for your acrylic paints will ultimately make your life easier because they will be easier to clean and care for in regards to using them with your acrylic paints. Acrylic paint has a tendency o stick to natural fibers turning your much loved and pricy sable brushes into hard pointy stabbing tools better used for killing vampires than painting. So unless you have a vampire problem in your studio, in the long run using the nylon brushes (with your acrylics) will also save you some money… and make me popular in the eyes of your loved one.

You can of course get nylon filament brushes in a wide range of sizes, shapes and also for use with different paint mediums…. These brushes usually come in both short and long handles depending on your painting style and you can use your acrylic paint brushes with oil paints with out issue, provided you care for them appropriately. We will go into care and maintenance in another article later on.

Below are the main types of acrylic paint brushes and what brush strokes they're generally used for. At first I wasn’t going to list all the different types of brushes because I didn’t think some of them would be appropriate for painting on toys however on second thoughts customizing and painting toys is a widely creative arena and so I figure appropriateness should be left up to you the artist to decide.

Acrylic Paint Brush Shapes

Rounds - Good for touching in or for more detailed work. Especially useful with slightly thinner acrylic paints.

Long Flat - Holds plenty of paint and good for applying thick (impasto) layers. Produces longish, straight brush strokes, so excellent for painting doors and windows or anything that has a straight edge to it.

Short Flat or Bright - As above but when required for shorter strokes. Good when you want to leave a multitude of well-defined brush strokes on the paint surface. Both the short and long flat acrylic paint brushes, when dampened with paint, come to a lovely chisel edge, ideal for thin straight lines.

Filbert - Flat profile but with a slightly rounded point. Makes tapered strokes and has the ability to soften the edges of a brush stroke.

Fan Brush - Flat profile spread as a fan. Ideal for blending cloudy skies or any area where you want a smooth transition between colors. Also very useful for creating leaf clusters on pine and fir trees or textures such as fur.

When using a fan brush for acrylics, sometimes it is better to use a natural bristle type brush as they tend to hold there shape better with paint on them, often thinner nylon filaments can stick together causing the brush to loose its shape. This however does depend on the viscosity (thickness) of the paint and the effect you’re trying to achieve. Have a play and see what works for you.

Rigger - Although not strictly an acrylic brush, I've included it here as it performs the same function as in watercolor, i.e. very fine lines such as ship's rigging (hence its name). It's best to use thinned acrylic paint to achieve such effects.

I hope you found the above information helpful and you can apply it to your next custom painting project. Please book mark this site and come back often as I will add more info as time allows.If you think there is information that should be added to this artical please leave me a comment of email me at...

Have a wickedly awesome day...

Custom Empire

Hey lovely people todays post is actually kinda exciting, well at least it is for me, because I get to tell and share with you something I have wanted to do for a long time... and its the first step of a little dream I've been having, coming into fruission.

I have always wanted to get into customizing vinyl toys but didn’t think I had the skills to do you may well know I am a plush maker... paper, fabric thread, needles, stitchy machinery and the like are my friends but a paint brush and paint not so much.
While I am an arty guy and have picked up some fine art type skills along my way i didnt go to art school, i went to theatre design school. Nobody taught me to draw or paint or sculpt... so what little skill I do have in these areas comes from my own interest and self teachings.

 So to make this leap and do the thing I really want to do, I have just recently started doing a bunch of research in the endeavor to teach myself... can i do it? Who cares!!!
The fun is in the learning and the trying. More importantly one of the things I have discovered about myself over the last couple years is what I like doing the most is teaching and helping others... So to put all these things together I have started writing a blog with all the information I find and learn about toy customizing so I can share it with all you peeps out there who are just starting out… and or anyone else that is interested too.

As you know I ve been posting about the toy world and toy customizing related jazz here under the banner Custom Empire, and now i've made it into a blog of its very own... YAY!

I will post the Custom Empire info here as I have been as well as on the Custom Empire blog, so you can read it here or over there depending on what atmosphere you like. They are a little different but kinda the same, due to being writen by yours truley... However here you get all the plush and other ramblings of my brain over there you get the rambling but on one topic, toy customizing, learning and other toy related stuff... choice is yours.

Im totally open to any suggestions  or questions about toy customization and anything that might be related to it, I may not be able to give you an answer straight away but asking questions will help me write and research topics that I may not think of... and keep me on target with what people are interested in, or if you have any other  ideas let me know. Better still if you are a painter or sculpter or awesome in some other way and want to share some tips, trics, links or what have you, let us know and we'll post it on the blog for everyone. 

Anyway I hope you like the information I put out and seriously if you ever have any cool tips, tricks, links, or other helpful information flick me a message so we can share it with the people.

Have a great day folks!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

In need of good hardware

In the past few months I’ve had several hardware issues, my laptop is old, going on 5 or 6 years now and things are starting to break. While this is not the end of the world it is important to me, you see, my laptop is my connection to my friends and family in Australia, my access to my arty design businessy stuff, all my correspondence to the companies in china im currently working with, my entertainment and of course my blog and you guys here.
So last weekend when my laptop died or the second time this month (i think its part cat and has 9 lives, we're down to 6 more) I asked a friend for help and we went looking for laptops. I looked and looked and besides realizing that computers have become really cheap I also realized I still cant afford one... but that’s a problem easily solved... that’s simply a change in my priorities and spending habits and some patients.
 Anyway being arty in nature I looked at apple of course because there good computers and their pretty. I've used a Mac before so I know how it goes but I have to say I wasn’t that impressed with what i saw. I don’t know if this is because they didn’t hit the mark for me or im just over exposed to them, so they now seem every day ho not sure.
 Anyway we shopped on and "oh boy" does everything look the same, now I know Apple have been super popular and they really spun heads mostly with there design (I'll talk OS in a minute) but I came to a really interesting conclusion... these days its hard to buy a crappy computer, now this depends on how much you spend and what you expect but in all honesty if your reasonably level headed you get what you pay for and even then the cheap ones are fairly good.

So if you’re like me how do you decide what to buy...well if most people are like me and not a tech head it comes down to a few software requirements which are usually easily met and then basically its all about cost and looks. I mean even the OS isn’t really that important (Oh dear...I can hear the outrage from here... remember people Im not a tech head or expert in any way. Mr layman here!), I currently use windows and if I bought a Mac I would simply learn and get use to the different system, and its true I might decide its better but the reverse is also possible so unless your a die hard fan of one or the other (which i would have to question your motives there)  in my eyes it really doesn’t matter.

This conclusion unfortunately doesn’t help me one little bit in my decision... I have no need to belong to the apple is cool club or the windows is the first and the best club or any other this is better than that club I just need some good hardware...
So on that note I have worked out my soft were requirements and next I decided on a comfortable software/ hardware cost... and so we come to design.
The one laptop that really knocked my socks of was the Sony Vaio E Series

But before we look at what makes them unique it’s worth looking at some of the features that they share not only with each other, but with other laptops in the E series – for a start they all come equipped with processors from the 2010 Intel Core family, which combined with up to 4GB DDR3 RAM should be able to cope with whatever you wish to throw at it.
You’ve also got a pretty wide range of storage options available (up to 1TB) and a more than respectable range of ATI Mobility Radeon 5000 series graphics cards to choose from which means that pretty much whatever model you go for you will be able to browse, play games (although perhaps not the latest examples) and multitask with comfort.
First up for the the very colorful and customizable Sony Vaio E series laptop computer in the accessories department is the Bluetooth Slider Mouse. The Bluetooth Slider mouse for the E series has customizable skins with lots of different colors nine of them in total. The colors available include Black, White, Green, Gold, Blue, Pink, Orange and Violet.
But perhaps the best features on the E series is the three buttons that sit on the slim chassis entitled ‘WEB’, ‘ASSIST’ and ‘VAIO’ each of which provides a one touch shortcut to something that will, at some point, be useful to you!

I’ll start with perhaps the best of the three: ‘WEB’. This allows you to start browsing the internet without booting up your PC, meaning you can get online quickly which is ideal when you just need to nip on to check and email or look something up, and the fact that it supports multi-tabbed and split browsing should make it even easier to use. Obviously it’s a pain if you then have to boot up your PC anyway, but that’s a small sacrifice!
Secondly there’s the ‘ASSIST’ button, which is essentially a fast track to the VAIO care which should help you to maintain, diagnose and ultimately fix your VAIO if you get yourself in need of help!

Last but not least one of the coolest things about the Sony Vaio E series, the optional Keyboard Skin’s. The Keyboard skins can be placed right over the already existing Chiclet styled keyboard on the E series Vaio laptop. Sony has made available five colors and they are Blue, Green, Pink, Black and Violet.

How about all that computer talk...did I bore you to death? So after all that here is my problem... what colour should I buy? Im tossing up between the sleek and stylish White and the fun and exciting vibrant blue...

Which do you like?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Masking in practice

"So you wrote a post on masking" I hear you say... "Writing is the easy part but can you actually do it?" and the answer is yes! Not amazingly but not to bad either ;)

So here are a few work in progress shots of my very first customized vinyl toy....and a little information on how he is being made....

This guy has been painted with a blend technique with Tamiya Color and then I used masking to do the stencil type design on his head...

To do the design on his head I covered it with painters masking and drew the design on free hand.

Note* learn from my mistakes!
  • Try not to overlap your masking tape in one place creating multiple layers. why? because if you are drawing the design on the tape and then cutting it out with a scalpel you will have to cut through too many layers.. This means you need to push very hard and end up cutting the vinyl this is difficult to fix. One or two layers of tape is fine, if you find its unavoidable to have multiple layers, cut slowly and carefully.

  • When cutting the design out try not to push to hard... so as to avoid cutting the vinyl. same as the above but its important!

  • Think carefully before you remove the tape once the tape has been removed it is very difficult almost impossible to re-mask it in the same place.... if it is possible it will take you a millennium to do it! After I removed the tape i thought how cool would it be t have an outline on the design. I could have done this with masking... now i have to do it free hand(AHH!!) or try to remask

  • Because I drew the design for this guy free hand it isnt very eve but for my first guy, I'm ok with that... If you want you design to be symmetrical, try drawing you design on some card or paper first then cut it out and use it for a reference to draw around.
 This guy i a work in progress so I will keep you updated as I add to him and how I go about doing so.

Please visit Custom Empire and say hi!

Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy

An Awesome song from an old favorate band Massive Attack...yes thats right im gving Portishead a break!

I noticed the other day some of my youtube vids dont work... So sorry about that folks. If the vids dont play dont forget that you can click on the songs that come up as a menu, if they're by the groups I like they are all good ;P

Enjoy! I hope you have a rockin day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jon Burgerman doodling at ustwo™ London

Here is a very cool artist, Jon Burgerman doing a bit of doodling, I wish he could come and doodle on my walls I have to say I think his art is fantastic and Im so impressed at how easy he makes it look.

You can check out his work on his wesite for thoes of you who are fans there is a shop too

Jon not ony does canvas work but also 3D work like vinyl toys and a whole range of different products from soft furnashings to cool colouring in(DIY) wall paper, phone covers, t-shirts and more... Well worth checking out!

Have a great day guys!